Working closely with Benetas, smith & tracey developed and refined a new small house model based on an average module of 8 residents. The house, or apartment, as Benetas refers to it, benefits from being a family sized unit cared for by a small number of familiar Home-Carers on rotation. Each apartment is set up with 8 resident bedrooms and individual ensuites, a family living room and open plan dining area, domestic style kitchen and small staff desk akin to a domestic study alcove. Outdoor space is appended to living areas via either a large terrace or balcony. Large internal courtyards provide an abundance of daylight and sense of secure privacy for all residents.
Apartments are generally laid out back-to-back where possible and have linking ‘back’ doors for servicing. Each unit has a ‘front’ door and vestibule, further creating a sense of familiar home environment, albeit within a larger 4 level facility in suburban Heidelberg, Victoria. This configuration avoids the need for long corridors and allows welcoming courtyard views and light from all internal aspects. A total of 103 residents are accommodated within 13 apartments.
To enhance social interaction, residents are encouraged to leave their apartment for visits to the community facilities including café with outdoor access, beauty salon, wellness centre, prayer room and library/club room. A central multi-purpose room provides space for group activities, film nights and craft sessions.
Rooftop terraces provide distant views to the Dandenongs and general outdoor amenity for all residents. Likewise the lower rear garden areas include walking paths and seating areas to enjoy.
The lower ground level houses car parking, deliveries, staff areas and central kitchen, laundry and associated service facilities, discretely supporting the upper resident accommodation.
The building uses familiar external materials including brickwork and render, with some areas of colorbond upper wall cladding in muted tones. Balconies and sunscreens provide modulation and texture to the stepped contemporary facades.
Interior spaces are finished and furnished to replicate modern home environments with domestic scale spaces full of subtle warmth and homeliness. The library and club lounge area is fitted like an exclusive and plush club with bookshelves and lounge furniture for relaxed social interaction in a quiet space. In contrast, the café provides a lively and bright atmosphere adjacent the main entry and north facing sunny courtyard for a coffee with family and friends.
A successful collaboration with a dedicated provider has enabled the development of an aged care home uniquely tuned to meet Benetas’ new model of care.